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Chinese Space Program (CNSA) & Ch. commercial launch and discussion


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7 hours ago, Beccab said:

 

The US Air Force also launched a few fleets of satellites larger than that, though it course the exact specifics are not public

When I think about a satellite antenna... I'm pretty much imagining something like those in KSP. 

I can't imagine that you need an antenna that big just to point at the earth... Well... Unless it's for something other than what they (or we) say it's for 

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1 hour ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

When I think about a satellite antenna... I'm pretty much imagining something like those in KSP. 

I can't imagine that you need an antenna that big just to point at the earth... Well... Unless it's for something other than what they (or we) say it's for 

It's for signal intelligence. If memory serves correctly, the antennas of those are more than a hundred meters across.  I guess that's the size of antenna you need to intercept phone signals from mobile phones at a distance of several hundred kilometers.

Edited by Codraroll
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28 minutes ago, Codraroll said:

It's for signal intelligence. If memory serves correctly, the antennas of those are more than a hundred meters across.  I guess that's the size of antenna you need to intercept phone signals from mobile phones at a distance of several hundred kilometers.

Correct; NROL-32 in particular, the biggest GEO sat of the Orion series (why do we need to name 500 different space projects all Orion?), is believed to be quite a bit above 100 meters in the diameter of its antenna, while the standard antenna of thesatellite constellation should be around 100m

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Those antennas are for the SAR radar itself: the clearer picture you want, the bigger antenna you got. And as to whose is bigger and better, China or the US, we may have to wait 40 or 50 years to find out: after all, it's classified! And in many cases of that, the bigger and 'handier' they are, the more confidential they are :D

Spoiler

Both sides: Hope the secrets is kept

dd8bec2c14d8aa9094daa81e8f0f3b1.jpg

But barring dangerous things that we can put aside, these satellites, including the GF-3 satellites, the SAR satellites in different frequency bands, have played a large role in recent natural disasters. Only this year like the flood in June in Yingde City, the 6.8 magnitude earthquake on 5 September in Sichuan. Access to real-time information about the disaster area is now much better than it was in 2008: a wide range of useful satellites were deployed in the first instance to take a large number of photographs for analysis. Then send the emergency communication UAV if local communications are down. The thing is way more than parachuting airborne troops into the heart of the disaster area at their own risk, as was the case in the 2008 earthquake. 

Spoiler

SAR picture about the flood in Yingde City:

Before:

image.png

After:
image.png

The drone's view of the flooding was like:

BlhTQNrJUzn4u4_bUPUYIZSH8JnXg6kMUX_VCVF_1Qk?v=w1920

"Usual, yesterday and current situation in Yingde"

Spoiler

And the earthquake:

Epicentre and surrounding residential areas

image.png

Landslides burying roads in the Hailuogou scenic area.
image.png

Radar image with larger range:
image.png

The day before yesterday CNSA sent five satellites to help Venezuela with the flood assessment. These satellites are extremely useful in such situations, but I sincerely hope there will be fewer "opportunities" for them to be used.

Edited by steve9728
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The 300W-class LHT-40 Hall electric propulsion system, developed completely independently by the Lanzhou Institute of Space Technology and Physics, completed its first in-orbit test on board the S5 satellite of the Beidou Navigation Augmentation Constellation in micro-centrifugal space. The system works stably, and the performance indicators fully meet the user's requirements.

image.png

(Via. Lanzhou Institute of Space Technology and Physics's official WeChat account)

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CZ-2D Y69 rocket successfully launched Yaogan-36 02 group satellites into their designated orbit.

image.png

According to the mission patch this time and previous time, I guess this batch of launches should be followed by at least one more in the future:

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Spoiler

Previous one, the Y68:

image.png

And the firing was as big as last time, which had 3 satellites inside:

image.png

So, there will be at least three groups of nine satellites in the constellation.

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5 minutes ago, steve9728 said:

And the firing was as big as last time, which had 3 satellites inside:

  Reveal hidden contents

Previous one, the Y68:

image.png

 

So, there will be at least three groups of nine satellites in the constellation.

Do the Chinese use separate fairings?  My understanding was that if you had a standard sized fairing, it is far easier to solve aero stability issues and usually easier to manufacture one size than many.  I know Spacex expects to have a larger fairing designed soon, but only because the DoD is paying for it thanks  to a payload that won't fit without it.

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18 minutes ago, wumpus said:

Do the Chinese use separate fairings?  My understanding was that if you had a standard sized fairing, it is far easier to solve aero stability issues and usually easier to manufacture one size than many.  I know Spacex expects to have a larger fairing designed soon, but only because the DoD is paying for it thanks  to a payload that won't fit without it.

Honestly, satellites and rocket for CNSA, kind like the question of "what came first, the chicken or the egg". So I would say 'Yes, and no': CNSA definitely will use the standard sized faring because these satellites constellation will continue launch in the future. Secondly, those satellites platform also is standard size: Because the carrying capacity of the satellite platforms will be limited accordingly, thus the weight and size of these satellites will not be too different, even if their missions and needs are different. The final reason why I would say 'no' is that many rocket models are extremely specific: all the designs of this model are made for a particular satellite platform. So, it is difficult to say whether the satellite is adapting to the fairing or whether the fairing is adapting to the satellite.

Edited by steve9728
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22 hours ago, steve9728 said:

Honestly, satellites and rocket for CNSA, kind like the question of "what came first, the chicken or the egg". So I would say 'Yes, and no': CNSA definitely will use the standard sized faring because these satellites constellation will continue launch in the future. Secondly, those satellites platform also is standard size: Because the carrying capacity of the satellite platforms will be limited accordingly, thus the weight and size of these satellites will not be too different, even if their missions and needs are different. The final reason why I would say 'no' is that many rocket models are extremely specific: all the designs of this model are made for a particular satellite platform. So, it is difficult to say whether the satellite is adapting to the fairing or whether the fairing is adapting to the satellite.

From Akin's rules of Spacecraft Design:

39. Any exploration program which "just happens" to include a new launch vehicle is, de facto, a launch vehicle program.

39. (alternate formulation) The three keys to keeping a new human space program affordable and on schedule:
       1)  No new launch vehicles.
       2)  No new launch vehicles.
       3)  Whatever you do, don't develop any new launch vehicles.

I wonder what the Chinese rules of rocket design will look like.  Note that the above never really consider the possibility of somebody playing KSP with military designed solid boosters.  Which might be odd considering that Akin is a professor at University of Maryland, less than  100km from Orbital Science HQ (where they  also play KSP with surplus SRBs).

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14 hours ago, wumpus said:

Any exploration program which "just happens" to include a new launch vehicle is, de facto, a launch vehicle program.

Of course. Especially for a space agency like CNSA, which was not even that well-funded until 2010. The rule is to meet the corresponding launch mass and different orbit. 

CZ-1: First rocket, retired already

CZ-2: The main rocket for LEO

  • 2A: Retired already.
  • 2C: Deliver the 3 tons objects into LEO.
    • 2C/SD: For the parallel connection of multiple satellites, a Smart Dispenser upper stage was installed on the secondary rocket.
    • 2C/SM: Installed a solid motor at upper stage for HEO satellites.
    • 2C/SMA: Improved 2C/SD's dispenser.
  • 2D: Deliver the 4 tons objects into LEO and 1.2 tons to SSO.
  • 2E: China's early attempts at commercial space launches. The rockets retired already.
  • 2F: For Shenzhou's mission. Based on 2E with the addition of a redundancy system for increased security.
    • CZ-2F/G: Removed the escape tower. It launched Tiangong-1 & 2 and 'Reusable Experimental Spacecraft' two times.

Add: The CZ-2 and the DF-5 are technically homologous, and even the 2A itself is a "whitened" version of the DF-5. So technically speaking, China's most successful, reliable, and economical rocket, and China's 'nuclear stick', are relatives. The 2D, despite being classified as a CZ-2 rocket family, actually 'bleeds CZ-4 rocket blood': four YF-21B engines used in the first stage of the CZ-4A rocket + one YF-24 engine used in the second stage of the CZ-4A rocket.

CZ-3: Rockets for GTO

  • 3: retired already
  • 3A: 2.65 tons to GTO. 
  • 3B: There are two configurations. The standard one's core stage and boosters are non-extended. 3B was retired at 2012 and the following mission was carried out by 3B/E.
    • CZ-3B/G2: Based on the standard model, the second stage uses the engine of the CZ-2F's second stage rocket, resulting in a strengthened second stage structure. It also uses a 4m diameter fairing and has a capacity of 5.5 tons for the GTO and 3.78 tons for the TLI. And it launched Chang'e-3 in 2013
    • CZ-3B/G3: Based on the CZ-3/G2 with a 4.2m diameter fairing and a GTO carrying capacity of 5.4 tons.
    • CZ-3B/G3Z: Based on the CZ/G3 and use same 4.2m diameter faring. It was fitted with an attitude control engine and the fuel tanks needed for the engine. This configuration is usually coupled with the Yuanzheng-1 upper stage. 
    • CZ-3B/YZ-1: Unlike the previous one, it didn't 'usually' use YZ-1 upper stage but always. It mainly for the launch the Beidou navigation satellites missions and can take 2.2 tons to MEO
    • CZ-3B G5: Based on the CZ-3B/G3Z rocket, the design of the launch trajectory has been optimized with the use of a new fairing with a 900mm extension of the Raku. This configuration is capable of launching not only GEO payloads but also missions in Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), with a capacity of 4.5 tons for a 500 km SSO.

p.s.: G stand for Chinese word '改'. And the pinyin is 'gǎi'. Means 'improvements' in English

CZ-4: Rocket for SSO

  • 4A: Prior to targeting SSO, this model was designed for launch to GSO as a target. And was already retired
  • 4B: Compared to 4A, 4B uses a larger 3m inner diameter fairing. 3.066 tons to 500 km SSO and 2.225 to 700 km SSO
  • 4C: Based on 4B, a restart capability has been added to the engine of the third stage rocket. It can take 3.289 tons to 500km and 2.288 to 1200 km SSO

CZ-5: The first 5m diameter rocket.

  • CZ-5: For heavy satellite platforms such as DFH-5, Lunar and future planetary exploration missions.
  • CZ-5B: Only the boosters and core stage remain and use 20m long fairing. It's for CSS construction missions.

image.png

(There are also several different configurations, but now none of them have been launched and the corresponding missions planned, except for the basic one, which is configuration B)

CZ-6: Rocket for SSO and will gradually replace the CZ-3 rocket in the future: unlike the CZ-3, which uses highly toxic fuel, it uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

  • CZ-6: 1.5 tons to 500 km and 1.0 tons to 700 km SSO
  • 6A: The external appearance is very different from that of the CZ-6. Four sets of solid fuel boosters have been added, a YF-100 engine has been added to the first stage and the third stage has been removed. Also, unlike the CZ-6, which uses a 2.25m diameter second stage, its second stage is the same 3.35m as the core stage. Add: it's the CNSA's first rocket combined with solid engine boosters. And it can take 4 tons objects into SSO in 700 km.
Spoiler

To be honest, I couldn't relate to the two of them when I first saw them:
image.png

On the left is CZ-6A and right is CZ-6

CZ-7: It's primarily positioned as a rocket to replace the CZ-2F which uses toxic fuel with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

  • CZ-7: Existing plans are mainly for the launch of the Tianzhou cargo ship to CSS
  • 7A: Used to fill the gap between 5.5 and 7 tons in geosynchronous transfer orbit. The second stage rocket has been shortened from the CZ-7, reducing its mass from 106 tons to 62.2 tons.

CZ-8: A new non-polluting medium-sized rocket aimed primarily at international commercial launch missions.

  • CZ-8 = 2 sets of CZ-7's boosters + CZ-7's first stage + CZ-3A's third stage. 7.6 tons to LEO, 5 tons to SSO in 700 km and 2.5 tons to GTO
  • CZ-8R: Reusable version CZ-8 and under development now. Frankly, as I know, there is no good or bad news recently.

CZ-9: Heavy rocket. None of the options seem to be set in stone now: put it bluntly, it's not even clear that this thing will be of any use other than going to Mars. The engine it needs is now almost complete on trial and is in the optimization phase.

CZ-11: It is used for the rapid mobile launch of emergency satellites to meet the launch needs of microsatellites in emergency situations such as natural disasters and emergencies.

  • CZ-11: Based on Dongfeng 31 missile. It can deliver 700 kg to LEO and 400 kg to SSO in 700 km.
  • 11H: Same thing but launched at sea
  • 11A: Currently under development. It uses a 2.4m diameter solid motor to replace the CZ-11's 2m one. The goal is can take 2 tons objects into LEO
Edited by steve9728
Added some forgotten notes
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3 hours ago, steve9728 said:

Of course. Especially for a space agency like CNSA, which was not even that well-funded until 2010. The rule is to meet the corresponding launch mass and different orbit. 

CZ-1: First rocket, retired already

CZ-2: The main rocket for LEO

  • 2A: Retired already
  • 2C: Deliver the 3 tons objects into LEO.
  • 2D: Deliver the 4 tons objects into LEO and 1.2 tons to SSO,
  • 2E: China's early attempts at commercial space launches. The rockets retired already.
  • 2F: For Shenzhou's mission. Based on 2E with the addition of a redundancy system for increased security.
  • CZ-2F/G: Removed the escape tower. It launched Tiangong-1 & 2 and 'Reusable Experimental Spacecraft' two times.

CZ-3: Rockets for GTO

  • 3: retired already
  • 3A: 2.65 tons to GTO
  • 3B: There are two configurations. The standard one's core stage and boosters are non-extended. 3B was retired at 2012 and the following mission was carried out by 3B/E.
  • CZ-3B/G2: Based on the standard model, the second stage uses the engine of the CZ-2F's second stage rocket, resulting in a strengthened second stage structure. It also uses a 4m diameter fairing and has a capacity of 5.5 tons for the GTO and 3.78 tons for the TLI. And it launched Chang'e-3 in 2013
  • CZ-3B/G3: Based on the CZ-3/G2 with a 4.2m diameter fairing and a GTO carrying capacity of 5.4 tons.
  • CZ-3B/G3Z: Based on the CZ/G3 and use same 4.2m diameter faring. It was fitted with an attitude control engine and the fuel tanks needed for the engine. This configuration is usually coupled with the Yuanzheng-1 upper stage. 
  • CZ-3B/YZ-1: Unlike the previous one, it didn't 'usually' use YZ-1 upper stage but always. It mainly for the launch the Beidou navigation satellites missions and can take 2.2 tons to MEO
  • CZ-3B G5: Based on the CZ-3B/G3Z rocket, the design of the launch trajectory has been optimized with the use of a new fairing with a 900mm extension of the Raku. This configuration is capable of launching not only GEO payloads but also missions in Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), with a capacity of 4.5 tons for a 500 km SSO.

p.s.: G stand for Chinese word '改'. And the pinyin is 'gǎi'. Means 'improvements' in English

CZ-4: Rocket for SSO

  • 4A: Prior to targeting SSO, this model was designed for launch to GSO as a target. And was already retired
  • 4B: Compared to 4A, 4B uses a larger 3m inner diameter fairing. 3.066 tons to 500 km SSO and 2.225 to 700 km SSO
  • 4C: Based on 4B, a restart capability has been added to the engine of the third stage rocket. It can take 3.289 tons to 500km and 2.288 to 1200 km SSO

CZ-5: The first 5m diameter rocket.

  • CZ-5: For heavy satellite platforms such as DFH-5, Lunar and future planetary exploration missions.
  • CZ-5B: Only the boosters and core stage remain and use 20m long fairing. It's for CSS construction missions.

image.png

(There are also several different configurations, but now none of them have been launched and the corresponding missions planned, except for the basic one, which is configuration B)

CZ-6: Rocket for SSO and will gradually replace the CZ-3 rocket in the future: unlike the CZ-3, which uses highly toxic fuel, it uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

  • CZ-6: 1.5 tons to 500 km and 1.0 tons to 700 km SSO
  • 6A: The external appearance is very different from that of the CZ-6. Four sets of solid fuel boosters have been added, a YF-100 engine has been added to the first stage and the third stage has been removed. Also, unlike the CZ-6, which uses a 2.25m diameter second stage, its second stage is the same 3.35m as the core stage.
  Reveal hidden contents

To be honest, I couldn't relate to the two of them when I first saw them:
image.png

On the left is CZ-6A and right is CZ-6

CZ-7: It's primarily positioned as a rocket to replace the CZ-2F which uses toxic fuel with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

  • CZ-7: Existing plans are mainly for the launch of the Tianzhou cargo ship to CSS
  • 7A: Used to fill the gap between 5.5 and 7 tons in geosynchronous transfer orbit. The second stage rocket has been shortened from the CZ-7, reducing its mass from 106 tons to 62.2 tons.

CZ-8: A new non-polluting medium-sized rocket aimed primarily at international commercial launch missions.

  • CZ-8 = 2 sets of CZ-7's boosters + CZ-7's first stage + CZ-3A's third stage. 7.6 tons to LEO, 5 tons to SSO in 700 km and 2.5 tons to GTO
  • CZ-8R: Reusable version CZ-8 and under development now. Frankly, as I know, there is no good or bad news recently.

CZ-9: Heavy rocket. None of the options seem to be set in stone now: put it bluntly, it's not even clear that this thing will be of any use other than going to Mars. The engine it needs is now almost complete on trial and is in the optimization phase.

CZ-11: It is used for the rapid mobile launch of emergency satellites to meet the launch needs of microsatellites in emergency situations such as natural disasters and emergencies.

  • CZ-11: Based on Dongfeng 31 missile. It can deliver 700 kg to LEO and 400 kg to SSO in 700 km.
  • 11H: Same thing but launched at sea
  • 11A: Currently under development. It uses a 2.4m diameter solid motor to replace the CZ-11's 2m one. The goal is can take 2 tons objects into LEO

This is a great guide. Thanks!

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Shenzhou 14 crew is busy with inventorying and organizing supplies in the station:

image.png
image.png

Picture via. https://weibo.com/1971177973/MaTjL7Ihx

The next move is waiting for the Mengtian Module, put the garbage into Tianzhou-4 and Tianzhou-4 will leave the station. Then waiting for the Tianzhou-5 which will launch around November and Shenzhou-15 crew.

Edited by steve9728
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Interesting article detailing thw US rationale about not raising a ruckus about the original FOBS.

https://thespacereview.com/article/4466/1

Interesting to see how they treated the document as a gentlemen's agreement on key principles, putting the spirit over the letter, and avoiding cheap point-scoring. Those were the times...

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22 minutes ago, DDE said:

Interesting article detailing thw US rationale about not raising a ruckus about the original FOBS.

https://thespacereview.com/article/4466/1

Interesting to see how they treated the document as a gentlemen's agreement on key principles, putting the spirit over the letter, and avoiding cheap point-scoring. Those were the times...

I'm planning a trip to the Zhuhai Airshow in November to see will CASIC show something new about this little bad boy. Two-hour driving is worth doing that.

Edited by steve9728
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On 10/17/2022 at 1:51 AM, steve9728 said:
  • 2F: For Shenzhou's mission. Based on 2E with the addition of a redundancy system for increased security.
    • CZ-2F/G: Removed the escape tower. It launched Tiangong-1 & 2 and 'Reusable Experimental Spacecraft' two times.

Found some details and make some correction: CZ-2F/G's improvements:

  1. The one not for launching the manned spaceship's fairing diameter increased from 3.8m to 4.2m
  2. Increase in rocket take-off weight from 479.8 to 497 tones (493 tones for the manned version)
  3. The payload in NEO was increased from 7.8 to 8.6 tones (8.13 tones for the manned version).
  4. The top oval dome of the top tank of the booster was replaced with a conical top to enhance the propellant storage capacity.

CZ-2F/G's first mission wasn't Tiangong, but Shenzhou-7, which was launched in September 2008. Since this mission was successfully carried out, the original CZ-2F was no longer used for missions anymore.

Edited by steve9728
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According to the footage from the CCTV's news, the CZ-2F Y15 rocket which was in emergency rescue backup status transfer to launch readiness for the upcoming Shenzhou-15 mission.

image.png

After the construction of the space station began, each CZ-2F rocket and Shenzhou spacecraft on launch mission had a backup of its own standby to launch for emergency space rescue. And the Shenzhou-15 spacecraft was ready in Jiuquan before the Shenzhou-14 launch. So currently, the next CZ-2F rocket and Shenzhou spacecraft should have already arrived Jiuquan and begun assembly.

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But barring that, I won't refute anything else for now. I just want to make a point: the satellites that are really staring out to sea are not Tianlian but are  Yaogan satellites constellation: Guess why these mission patches are blue underneath?

20220930203136.jpg

Put everything aside, it's strange to use signal relay satellites to keeping eye on the sea and our American friends.

Edited by steve9728
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